Of all the Central Asian countries, the least known is, of course, Turkmenistan. For many years this country was closed to foreigners, who only knew that it had a lot of deposits of natural gas and oil. Only in recent years, foreigners are gradually beginning to discover Turkmenistan, where, as it turns out, there are picturesque landscapes of the Karakum desert, green oases, mountain ranges, ancient cities, mausoleums, mosques, ruins of ancient fortresses, nature reserves, as well as traditional nomad villages.
Geography of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan is located in Central Asia. In the east and northeast, Turkmenistan borders on Uzbekistan, in the south and southwest – on Iran, in the south – on Afghanistan, and in the north and northwest – on Kazakhstan. In the west, the shores of this country are washed by the waters of the Caspian Sea. The total area of Turkmenistan is 491,200 sq. km., and the total length of the state border is 3,736 km.
More than 80% of the territory of Turkmenistan is occupied by the Karakum desert, mainly in the center of the country. In the south is the Kopetdag mountain system. In general, about 15% of the territory of Turkmenistan is occupied by foothills and mountains. The highest peak of this country is Mount Airy-Baba, whose height reaches 3139 m.
The Amu Darya River flows in the east of Turkmenistan. This is the only big river in Turkmenistan.
According to itypemba.com, the capital of Turkmenistan is Ashgabat, which is now home to about 750,000 people. Archaeologists claim that a human settlement in the area of modern Ashgabat already existed around the 2nd century BC. The city of Ashgabat itself was founded in 1881.
In Turkmenistan, the official language is Turkmen, which belongs to the Turkic languages.
About 89% of the population of Turkmenistan is Muslim, and another 9% of the population is Orthodox Christianity.
State structure of Turkmenistan
According to equzhou.net, Turkmenistan is a parliamentary republic headed by the President. The unicameral parliament in Turkmenistan is called the Mejlis, it consists of 125 deputies.
There are only two political parties in Turkmenistan – the Democratic Party of Turkmenistan and the Party of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.
Climate and weather
The climate in Turkmenistan is sharply continental, it is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, short winters. In summer, the air temperature in Turkmenistan can easily reach +40C. Winter begins in December, the average air temperature at this time of the year is + 10-15C. Snowfalls in Turkmenistan are rare.
The best time to visit Turkmenistan is spring or autumn, when it is not quite hot (unless, of course, you like the heat).
Sea in Turkmenistan
In the west, the shores of Turkmenistan are washed by the waters of the Caspian Sea. The length of the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea is 1,768 kilometers. Many interesting birds live near the Caspian Sea, including even pink flamingos.
Rivers and lakes
There are no large rivers in Turkmenistan, with the exception of the Amu Darya, which flows through the east of the country. Other well-known Turkmen rivers are Murgab, Tejen, Kyzyl-Arvat, Karasu. By summer, almost all Turkmen rivers become very shallow.
In the north of Turkmenistan there is Sarykamysh Lake, the largest reservoir in this country (its area is 5000 km2).
In the 8th century A.D. In the steppes of Central Asia, the nomadic Oghuz tribes settled, who arrived there from Mongolia. It was the Oguzes who became the ethnic predecessors of modern Turkmens.
Before the Mongol invasion, the territory of modern Turkmenistan was under the rule of the Seljuks and the state of Khorezmshahs. After the weakening of the Mongol Empire, Turkmenistan, from the 16th century, was part of the Bukhara and Khiva Uzbek khanates.
In the second half of the 19th century, Turkmenistan was annexed to the Russian Empire (this process ended by 1885). In the early 1920s, the Turkmen SSR was formed on the territory of modern Turkmenistan, which was part of the USSR.
The independence of Turkmenistan was declared in September 1991.
Culture of Turkmenistan
The roots of Turkmen culture go back to the nomadic tribes of the Oghuz, who came to Central Asia from Mongolia. In the Middle Ages, Islam spread among the Turkmens, and this had a decisive influence on their culture.
Turkmens celebrate traditional folk holidays (“Snowdrop Festival”, “Tulip Festival”, “Horse Festival”, “Bakhshi Day”), as well as all Muslim holidays (Ramadan-Bayram, Kurban-Bayram, Navruz).
In addition, every Turkmen family celebrates “Sach-Alysh” (Day of cutting the first hair), “Akgoyun” (63rd birthday of a man), “Sowing Festival” and “Grape Festival”.
The cuisine of Turkmenistan is very similar to the cuisine of other Central Asian countries (especially Iranian), and mainly consists of rice, vegetables, and, of course, meat (lamb, beef, poultry).
Lunch usually starts with soup. Then the main dishes are served, among which pilaf occupies a special place. Tourists in Turkmenistan are recommended to try “chorba” (meat broth soup), “manti” (steamed dumplings), “kebal” (kebab), fried lamb. Turkmens make pilaf from lamb (sometimes they replace it with poultry meat), adding spices, onions, carrots, raisins, peas and quince to it.
Turkmens like to drink “gok chai” – green tea with dried fruits. Sometimes herbs, such as mint, are added to tea. In addition, fermented milk drinks made from camel and sheep milk (“agaran”, “suzme”, “teleme”, “gatyk”, etc.) are popular in Turkmenistan.
Good alcoholic drinks are made in Turkmenistan – wine and cognac. Many tourists buy Turkmen wine and Turkmen cognac as souvenirs.
Sights of Turkmenistan
In Turkmenistan, inquisitive tourists will see ancient mausoleums, minarets, mosques, palaces, fortresses, ruins of ancient cities, settlements, caravanserais, as well as other historical and cultural monuments. The top 10 best sights of Turkmenistan, in our opinion, may include the following:
- Anau Fortress
- Ruins of the Parthian city of Nisa
- Cave city Ekedeshik
- Ancient caravanserai Tasharvat
- Altyn-Depe fortress near Kushka
- Mausoleum of Sultan Sanjar
- Mausoleum of Princess Torebeg Khanym
- Settlement of Gara-Depe near Kushka
- Great fortress in Merv
- Mausoleum of Il-Arslan
Cities and resorts
The largest cities in Turkmenistan are Turkmenabad, Turkmenbashi, Mary, Dashoguz, and, of course, the capital, Ashgabat.
Turkmenistan has not only unique sights, but also beaches, mineral springs, as well as sources of therapeutic mud.
In summer, Turkmens rest on the coast of the Caspian Sea. The most popular cities for recreation on the Caspian Sea among Turkmens are Turkmenbashi, Avaz and Khazar. Dozens of hotels, sanatoriums, recreation centers, children’s holiday camps have been built on the coast.
Tourists in Turkmenistan are offered very interesting excursion routes, which pass through the foothills and mountains. Travelers during sightseeing tours can see the Karlyuk caves, the Kopetdag reserve, the Boyadag mud volcano, the Um-Bar-Depe canyon with waterfalls, the Kugitang reserve, the Bakharden cave and the Badkhyz reserve.
Tourists from Turkmenistan usually bring folk art products, carnelian jewelry, Turkmen silk, Turkmen hats (skullcap, telpek fur hat), towels, bathrobes, Turkmen melons, cognac, wine, and, of course, Turkmen carpets.
Ukrainians need to apply for a visa to visit Turkmenistan.
The official currency in Turkmenistan is the manat (international designation: TMT). One manat = 100 tenge. Credit cards are very rare.
You can import and export foreign currency in Turkmenistan without restrictions, but it must be declared. True, you can take out as much foreign currency as was declared when entering the country. But it is absolutely forbidden to import or export local currency.
You can take valuable items out of Turkmenistan, including carpets, only if you can confirm that you bought them legally. To export carpets, you must also have permission from the Ashgabat Carpet Museum.
Useful phone numbers and addresses
Address of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Ukraine:
Index: 01901, Kiev, Pushkinskaya st., 6
279-34-49 mail: [email protected]
Address of the Embassy of Ukraine in Turkmenistan:
Index: 744001, Ashgabat, st. Azadi, 49
Phone: (312) 39-12-40
Email. mail: [email protected]
03 – Ambulance and all emergencies
Time in Turkmenistan
The difference with time in Kyiv is +3 hours. those. if in Ashgabat, for example, it is 09:00, then in Kyiv it is 06:00.
Tipping is not common in Turkmenistan. Some prestigious hotels (in particular, international hotels) and restaurants in this country include a service charge on the bill.
Doctors recommend vaccinating against diphtheria, tetanus, malaria, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and B before traveling to Turkmenistan. Mandatory vaccinations are not needed.
Turkmens are considered hospitable people, and this is indeed true. Violent crimes against foreign tourists are rare. Remember that the inhabitants of Turkmenistan are Muslims, you need to respect their customs.